Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield United

Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield United

Huddersfield Town play host to Sheffield United on Thursday evening knowing that a draw will be enough to secure their survival in the Championship.

At a time when the Terriers are scrapping for their second-tier status, the visitors to the John Smith’s Stadium are second in the standings and have already earned promotion to the Premier League.

When Neil Warnock was handed the chance to return to his former club having previously retired from management, many scoffed at the appointment, and that came with justification with the veteran boss having been out of the game for 15 months.

However, the decision to bring Warnock back to Huddersfield after a 28-year absence has proven inspired with 19 points being collected from 14 matches.

Also helped by points deductions at two of their rivals, Sunday’s 2-1 victory at Cardiff City has left the Terriers three points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand.

While Huddersfield will avoid relegation to League One if they avoid defeat, they have the pressure of a last-season clash with 22nd-placed Reading hanging over them, the scenario being that two defeats will send them down.

Having only suffered one defeat in six games – a 1-0 loss at in-form Swansea City – Warnock will prefer to focus on the present, and extending a four-match undefeated streak at the John Smith’s Stadium will be enough to cement what has been a fairytale reunion up until now.

From the perspective of Sheffield United, they are already looking forward to another year in the Premier League after coasting to automatic promotion alongside Burnley.

Although 10 points adrift with a game in hand, the Blades have been by far a cut above the best of the rest, and they are currently on a run of seven wins from eight games in the Championship.

The 4-1 demolition of Preston North End at the weekend showed that Paul Heckingbottom and his squad are keen to maintain their momentum, as well as respect the situations at the top and bottom of the table.

With just 30 miles separating these clubs, Yorkshire pride is also at stake, yet Heckingbottom may be focused on improving on an away run which has seen Sheffield United lose three of their last six away games, scoring just six times in the process.

Huddersfield Town Championship form:

Sheffield United Championship form:

Sheffield United form (all competitions):

We say: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Sheffield United
Given their contrasting situations, many will back Huddersfield to do what is required to get over the line. However, this is a Yorkshire derby where pride is at stake, and we expect a Sheffield United side playing with more freedom to have too much quality in the final third for the Terriers.

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